This study was designed to identify the instructional methods that can be used to effect collaborative learning method on senior secondary school students’ achievement in summary writing in Afikpo Education Zone. This study became necessary because of poor performance of the students in summary writing. Four research questions and four hypotheses guided the study. A sample of 90 teachers was drawn from 22 public schools in Afikpo Education Zone and was used for the study. Quasi experimental research design was used for the study. Three (3) sets of standardized items of the West African senior secondary school certificate examination past question papers of three respective years was adopted by the researcher which was not subjected to validation because the items was developed by experts. These sets of standardized items were used in collecting relevant data from the respondents. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions and ANCOVA was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The result showed that there was a statistical significant main effect for method F(1,64) = 11.667, P<.001; the main effect of gender was not significant F(1,64) = 1.401, P>.241, and there was non- significant interaction effect of method and gender F(1, 64) = 073, P>.788. Based on the findings and implications, it was recommended that curriculum planners should ensure that collaborative learning method be incorporated in secondary school curriculum. It was suggested that further research can be replicated using true experimental design.
Background of the Study
Education as an important tool for national development has become the concern of the government in Nigeria. It is believed that schools should teach the children, Pupils and students to learn their roles as leaders, group members and members of the public and so on. (Jekayinfa, 2009) says that the teacher should adapt the lesson to the environment of the children.
Summary writing could be seen as a programme of study in schools which is used to inculcate in the learners the knowledge and skills considered important in human relationship in the public. Summary writing as part of English language involve the experiences which deal with the problems of learning relationship in the school and the larger environment. It also includes human relationships with other culture. These experiences and their rightful application form the benefits which control summary writing interactions of individuals.
The general aim of curriculum planners for summary writing is to provide a forum whereby learners will be taught to imbibe the benefits in the public. The provisions and objectives set for the accomplishment of summary goals are sufficiently worthwhile to achieve the set goals. The benefits emphasized in the current curriculum of summary writing are those ones which are important to get across to the school students. (Adesina & Adeyemi, 2009).Common Wealth of Learning (2000), defined curriculum as a composite whole including the learner, the teacher, teaching and learning methodologies, anticipated and unanticipated experiences, outputs and outcomes possible within a learning institution. With the benefits and feelings for survival, aimed at in the national guide, it is hopeful that students at the end of the courses should be able to develop the right type of skill and learn more about their environment and others and the right type of skill to tackle summary writing as a school subject.
The aims and objectives of education that may help individual to develop physically and socially, and be able to contribute to national development as stated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), include the following:
(a)The inculcation of the right of values for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian public.
(b)The acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competence both mental and physical as equipment for the individual to live and to contribute to the development of his country.
These characteristics of national objectives are fully reflected in the summary writing objectives. Summary writing, apart from imparting knowledge and providing information necessary in life, also aims at helping students to acquire desirable skills and competences needed for the survival of the individual in the public.
Nigerian Research and development Council (2007) clearly spelt out the overall objectives of summary writing at both basic Education and senior secondary levels should enable pupils and students to achieve the following:
(a) Develop the ability to adapt to his or her changing environment.
(b) Become responsible and disciplined individuals capable and willing to contribute to the development of the country.
(c) Develop a sense of comprehension towards other people.
(d) Inculcate the right types of knowledge.
(e) Develop a sense of solidarity and sharing based on a sense of security in one’s own Identity.(p.6)
(f) Develop the capacity to be recognized in one’s own country.
Summary writing is a subject discipline through which individual learns about the problem of survival. In order for summary writing to perform its function properly, instructional strategies in the subject should be centered on methods of seeking the truth which include those of problem detecting, Problem-solving, learning by experimenting, discovering learning, and collaborative learning (Adeyemi, 2003). Summary writing has the special focus of positively influencing, modifying and changing student’s behaviour in the direction of acceptable manners and practices of the public. A competent teacher of summary writing must acquaint himself or herself with summary writing methodology and be well groomed in the application of the various methods of teaching summary writing.
A good summary writing teacher has to convince him/herself that he is committed to, interested in and enjoys teaching summary writing. It has become apparent that the lecture method, which is currently the predominant teaching approach in Nigerian secondary schools, is inappropriate and ineffective for achieving the high objectives of the summary writing programme. “Education for self-development”, which can be found in all reviewed national policies of education manual up to date, however, modern educators believe that the starting point of adequate skills development should be concentrated on student’s ability to develop cognitive and affective concepts, skills and opinions (Nmon,2011). It is expected that teachers in summary writing are expected to be fully grounded in the skills that will make the subject to actualize its objectives and also inculcate good skills and attitudes in the learners which will make them become functional members of the public.
In spite of the important place of Summary Writing in our educational system, students’ performance achievement in the subject has shown a fluctuating decline in Senior Secondary Certificate Examination in Ebonyi State. For instance, the Ebonyi State Examination Board, (2012), English Summary writing analysis of Afikpo Local Government of Ebonyi State has indicated that as at 2009, the percentage of males that passed was 18.31%, and in 2010 it increased to 24.53%, and in 2011 it dropped to 18.31%. While the percentage of the females that passed in 2009 was 21.53%, in 2010 it increased to 26.15%s and in 2011 it dropped to 21.53%. In the following figures, it has been revealed that the students’ performance achievement in summary writing is not stable due to several factors, one of which is the type of teaching methodology being adopted by the teachers, it has also shown that gender is a prevailing determinant of the students’ performance achievement in the subject. However, there is a general agreement that students’ achievement in summary writing could be traced to inappropriate methods of teaching by teachers. Of great concern to the researcher is that summary writing teachers mostly use the lecture method for imparting information, under the lecture approach, the teacher according to, Yusuf (2007) simply becomes only the expositor and drill master while the learner remains the listener and a store house of facts that can be retrieved when a student hears his name called by the teacher.
Factors which have been identified as contributing to the persistent low interest and poor level achievement in summary writing include the following:
- Poor teaching methods adapted by teachers.
- The prominent use of text and lecture instructional technique strategies by summary writing teachers.
- Learner variables such as gender and home background.
- Lack of organized strategies for concept formation, teacher characteristics and memory skills (Falade, 2001).
The method of teaching could be regarded as the vehicle through which a message is delivered (Salawu, 1999). There exist several methods of instruction which have permeated our educational system over the years, No particular method could be said to be most appropriate. Classroom experience shows that in most cases, two or more teaching methods are combined by teachers in classroom practice.
Lecture method is referred to as the traditional method or the conventional method it allows a great deal of information to be passed to the learners and favours handling of large classes. In spite of this advantage, (Okwuilagwe, 2002) says that the lecture method does not stimulate student’s innovation, inquiry and scientific attitudes; it encourages students to cram facts which are easily forgotten. Also, most teachers prefer the lecture method because most of them are familiar and trained with the method and they find it difficult to diversify to new innovative methods. However, there is still the need to search and incorporate modern instructional strategies or techniques which the advanced world has long accepted into their classrooms. Nigeria, as a developing country is still battling with incorporating the techniques that will facilitate learning, and this is hindered by some circumstances like the change in education policies, incessant strikes that disrupts schools activities and so on. Thus, this brings about collaborative learning which the researcher suggested as an effective way of teaching and learning process of summary writing.
The term collaborative learning involves students working together in small groups toward a common goal. (Amuradha, 2005). The students are responsible for one another’s learning as well as their own. Thus, the success of one student helps other student to be successful. Collaborative learning (CL), however, is a personal philosophy not just a classroom technique. It suggests a way of dealing with people which respects and highlights group member’s abilities and contributions. Magar (2004) says it improves grade and greater initiative to stay on tasks. The underlying premise of collaborative learning is based upon consensus building through cooperation among group members, in contrast to competition in which individuals compete against other group members (McGroarty, 1993).This type of learning brings about equality amongst the learners because they tend to help one another. Thus summary writing is all about learner and his relationship with his environment, because the classroom is a community and the learners will need to work effectively to achieve a goal.
The concept of collaborative learning, the grouping and pairing of students for the purpose of achieving an academic goal has been widely researched and advocated throughout the professional literature. The term collaborative learning is the instructional method in which students at various performance levels, students work together in small groups toward a common goal. For a subject like summary writing that has to do with interaction and discussion, the type of method that should be adopted should be the type that is learner-centered and oriented because this will bring about free flow of information through discussion and debates and by this, both the teacher and the learners will gain from the lessons. Students learn best when they are actively involved in the process, students working in small groups tend to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the content is presented in other instructional formats. Students who work in collaborative groups also appear more satisfied with their classes (Berk man, 1990: Tinto & Associates, 1992). The 21st century teaching is about facilitation of learning, that learning has migrated from the teacher as someone who imparts knowledge to someone who facilitates knowledge: in this case the teacher here is a coach and acts as a moderator in the classroom.
Proponents of collaborative learning claim that the active exchange of ideas with small group not only increases interest among the participants but also promotes critical thinking. According to Johnson and Johnson (1980), there is pervasive evidence that cooperative teams achieve at higher levels of thought and retain information longer than students who work quietly as individuals. The shared learning gives students an opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning, and thus become critical thinkers (Totten, Sills, Digby & Russ, 1991). Critical thinkers in the sense that learners taught with the collaborative learning has the tendency of developing thinking skills and communication skills which will help them in teaching and learning of summary writing. The thinking skills will enable learners to contribute to the lessons by fully participating in the lessons and the communicative skills will improve learners’ ability of interacting with his/her peers and the larger society in their environment.
In collaborative learning, ideas, facts and knowledge is exchanged and brain storming is done among the learners so as to achieve the common goal. The researcher proposes that collaborative learning is a technique that has to do with the learners and the teacher working together in order to solve problems. It is expected that collaborative learning will bridge the ethnic and cultural gaps in the students because learners will work irrespective of their differences. Yusuf (2007) pointed out that efforts have been made to redress the observed inadequacy by teaching the summary writing as a discipline that brings the reality of everyday writing to students with the desire to making them acquire the knowledge, competence and skills required to be responsible and discipline members of their public. With the collaborative learning method, learners will work together in the classroom as a team considering the above, it is necessary that an experimental study be carried out to ascertaining the actual effect of collaborative learning on students’ achievement in summary writing.
It is likely that some variables like gender and location can also have an effect on the effectiveness of teaching methods and learning outcomes. Gender refers to the social attributes associated with being a male or females. It is a determinant factor in the summary writing achievement of students. Daniel (2012) described that many researchers have provided reports that there are no longer distinguishing differences in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skill achievement of students in respect of gender. The study was used to find out whether gender will influence the achievement of students in summary writing if exposed to collaborative learning.
The location of a school is yet another important variable that needs to be considered. There are a lot of controversies in determining the influence or other-wise of location in predicting the achievement of students in school. This could be as a result of readiness to respond to certain institutions, persons and objects in a consistent manner which has become one’s typical mode of response (Aggarwal, 2008). Several researchers have established the close relationship between a positive attitude and high achievement. Students that are taught with the conventional method which is teacher-centered are sometimes prone to have a lackadaisical attitude towards learning because the learners most times regurgitate facts for examination purpose. Therefore the study is targeted at ascertaining if collaborative learning will lead to the development of more positive behaviours in the students towards summary writing. Researchers have concentrated much on the cognitive aspect of teaching in our secondary schools because of the importance attached to success in public examination.
Statement of the Problem
Summary writing remains an important and a compulsory subject in both senior and junior secondary school levels. Despite, its rich content as stated in the curriculum, the subject still has set-back in achieving some of the objectives. The results of students of English language summary writing as shown by the Ebonyi State Secondary School Management Board (2012), reveals that the achievement of students in summary writing has reduced drastically due to the nature of the teaching methodology used by the teacher in teaching the subject. Basically, learning should be learner- centered in which the learners will be actively involved in the teaching and learning process. Based on the nature of the subject, which has to do with inculcating good knowledge and appropriate skills in relationship with individual in his environment, thus the subject needs to be taught with innovative techniques that will bring learners to work together despite their differences in culture or academic background in other to achieve a common goal. The poor achievement may also be linked to students’ behaviours towards the subject since a close relationship has been established between behaviuor and achievement of total adaptation and understanding of their immediate learning environment. In addition to this, is that gender is an important variable and determinant of the academic achievement. Such a technique that can bring learners working together with their peers and teachers in formal or non- formal setting is collaborative learning. Hence the problem of this study is: What are the effects of collaborative learning method on students’ achievement in summary writing at the senior secondary school level?
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to determine effect of collaborative learning method on senior secondary school student’s achievement in summary writing in Afikpo education Zone of Ebonyi State.
Specifically the study was used to:
- Determine the effect of collaborative learning on students’ achievement in summary writing in English language.
- Determine the effect of location on achievement of student’s taught summary writing using collaborative learning method.
- Determine the influence of gender on performance of students taught summary writing using collaborative learning.
- Determine the interaction effect of method and gender on student’s achievement in summary writing.
Significance of the Study
The result of the study is expected to have both the theoretical and practical significance. The theoretical significance is based on the Vygotsky’s theory of zone proximal development and the Bandura’s Social learning theory while the practical significance will be of benefit to the curriculum planners, government, teachers and students.
The Vygotsky’s theory notes that the discrepancy between the student actual development level (that is, independent achievement) and his/her potential level (achievement with the help from a competent partner or a knowledgeable peer).The knowledgeable partner could be the teacher or the peer group, the teacher in this case acts as a scaffold who gives support and guidance to the student where it is necessary. This theory is synonymous with the constructivist theory that believes in the students’ discovery of principles themselves and by so doing it makes learning to be learner-centered and promotes participation on the part of the learners and the teachers other than being passive and regurgitate facts that leads to memorization of knowledge. Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development will enable teachers of summary writing to facilitate learning rather than imparting learning because of the nature of the subject that has to do with problem solving and discovery.
The social learning theory of Albert Bandura is based on the principles of observation, imitation and modeling. This theory will enable learners to emulate good behaviours and feelings amongst their peers, because the collaborative learning will bring learners together to work for a common goal. Since the main aim is to aspire for a goal, the stronger ones will help the weaker ones, and by so doing they learn from one another in terms of character and learning. The findings of the study will help in authenticating or debunking the tenets of this theory.
The findings of this result will be of benefit to the curriculum planners, government, teachers and students. From the findings, curriculum planners will benefit since they will be provided with information that may be used in recommending effective innovations in teaching strategies. Also, the findings will provide information that will be used to sensitize the government on the need for workshops, seminars, and conferences on new teaching technique like the collaborative learning as an effective strategy for teaching summary writing. It will also enable them to re-train teachers by organizing symposia, workshops and training on the use of collaborative methods. The use of conventional method of teaching will be jettisoned as curriculum planners will find the need to improve on it.
This study will be significant to the teachers because they will find the study useful as it will suggest a better method of summary writing teaching and learning process as a sure way of achieving their set objectives with less pains. It will sensitize teachers of summary writing to the adoption of better teaching methods.
The students will find the study, helpful because it will help them to work together as one so as to achieve a common goal and also to solve their immediate problems. It will also enhance good team work and working together in harmoniously with one another irrespective of their cultural differences.
Scope of the Study
The study was restricted to the senior secondary school (SS2) students in Afikpo Education Zone of Ebonyi State. The work was restricted only to the SS2 students in each chosen school preparing to write summary in English language in WASSEC. The content scope of this study covered comprehension passage, summary writing and essay writing.
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
- What is the mean achievement scores of students taught summary writing with collaborative learning and those taught with conventional method?
- What is the influence of gender on mean achievement scores of students in summary writing?
- What is the interaction effect of method and gender on students mean achievement scores in summary writing?
- What is the opinion rating of male and female students taught summary writing using collaborative method?
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and was tested at 0.05 level of significance.
H01. There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students taught summary writing using collaborative learning method and those taught using conventional method.
H02. There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of urban and rural students taught summary writing.
H03. There is no significant in the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught summary writing. H04. There is no significant interaction effect of gender on students’ achievement in summary writing.